Photo by Alan Levine (Flickr)
Square is a service that turns any iPhone or iPad into a cash register and credit card processor.
When thinking about the phrase “design envy” in relation to products that I haven’t worked on, there’s perhaps none I envy more than Square. Processing payment is typically not thought of as sexy, but somehow Square has made it so.
The service is a remarkable example of democratization. Anyone can now take credit card payments, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of setting up merchant accounts. This is a boon for independent merchants and retailers, and gives them an opportunity to be on equal footing with the bigger players.
Unlike typical point-of-sale solutions, Square is handsomely designed, clearly drawing from the iOS aesthetic. Using it, you realize there’s no reason for utilitarian interactions to be ugly.
Square is a platform that continues to evolve, most recently with the launch of the “card case,” which lets you set up tabs with your favorite vendors, and presages a wallet-less future.
Photo by Sangwoong Hwang
Photo by Niall Kennedy (Flickr)
Perhaps what I love best about Square is how it makes the act of payment much more human. Typical cash register set-ups create a divide between merchant and buyer, with a literal physical barrier of the screen. Square, by utilizing the tablet format of the iPhone and iPad, enables a more intimate setting for commerce, and stronger connections between buyer and seller.